Medical Administrative Aide: Course Information

A Medical Administrative Aide (MMA) helps nurses and physicians in retaining the financial and medical records of the patient. The job of an administrative assistant is made up of the following: records safekeeping; welcoming patients; clerical and billing duties; appointment scheduling; hospital admission processing and laboratory servicing; and checking of supplies.

Also, an MMA is required clinically to do specific tasks such as recording important signs (like pulse, blood pressure, temperature and respirations), arranging patients for tests, doing plain tests in laboratory, preparing instruments and equipment prior to an examination, helping physicians while patients are being examined, and giving explanations about treatment, diet schedules, medications, and methods to the patients.

Hiring & Learning

An MMA mainly renders his services in doctor’s clinics and offices, outpatient hospitals and settings, and in some other settings for healthcare. The complexity growth of the healthcare system in U.S. has ended to a significant increase of demands for competent medical administrative aides.

Educational Pre-requisites

Students are required to have an equivalent of GED or diploma in high school.

Program for incoming MMA

A fifty-hour course program will equip the students with effective functions in most of the clerical and administrative work within the industry of healthcare. Medical Secretaries, Medical Administrative Aide, Medical Records Staff are the most in-demand positions. The program is covering essential background data about medical terminologies, coding and billing of insurance, medical principles, services to the customers, and lawful aspects. With this program, students are given with grand introduction about the profession. From this, a student gains the essential required expertise in order to attain a medical administrative aide designation in the healthcare profession.

Medical Billing Service For Focused Medical Care

There are various supportive tasks in medical industry. All help doctors to strengthen there position in this industry. Medical billing is one of the important tasks in medical care. Without healthcare billing, doctors can not submit insurance claims to insurance company. Here are the three ways to do billing task internally:

1. To do the billing task at your own, it is waste of time.

2. Hire specialists to operate such task, it may cost you very high.

3. Pass to the staff, it can deliver wrong billing and ultimately claim decline as well as less effective medical care service.

In all three ways, you are losing time, money and reputation. All you need to do is hire a company for healthcare billing service and you will gain a lot. Medical billing service helps you in:

Saving Time: Either you or your staff does the billing task and utilize the time that is more required in healthcare. Medical billing service helps you and your staff to devote more time in medical care, not just doing supportive activity.

Saving Cost: Specialists charge you more for the task as well you have to assign space to them for completion of the tasks. If not and done by staff, that will increase the chances of decline and reapplication increase the cost of stationery. Medical billing service helps you out to such cost issue by offering specialists and accurate billing.

Proper Utilization of Resources: If you hire specialists, you have to allot them space. So, that part of premise is used for non-clinical activity which is not advisable. If you assign some staff employees to do the duty, they divert their efficiency in non-clinical task. It will directly affect to the patient care. By insurance billing service at remote place, you can fully utilize your premise for medical care and your staff can also deliver effective medical care to patient.

At some places healtcare billing service has move ahead to electronic claim submission that enables you for quick automation claim process and deliver better and fast result compared to manual submission.

Medical billing service can help you to improve the efficiency, boost reimbursement and decrease denials, trim down cost and save time. All together helps you to deliver focused medical care services to patient.

Manufacturers Explore New Strategies for Upgrading Medical CRM Systems

With healthcare reform moving at a swift pace, hospitals, physician practices, nursing homes, physical therapy centers and all U.S. medical facilities are going through a series of dynamic changes. Beginning with HIPAA laws concerning privacy and portability of patient information, the move to organize medical records into a more efficient, confidential and accessible electronic format began to transform patient information from paper to electronic files.

It has become law that all medical records must become part of an electronic health records (EHR) system by 2015. Seemingly arduous and costly upfront, both money and time will be saved in the long run while increasing integrity, confidentiality, and data transfer and retrieval. Streamlining medical record paper folders, transcription cassettes, and complex coding and filing procedures will alleviate lost documents, provide immediate test and lab results to physicians, and coordinate patient care from intake to billing.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enacted by President Obama in 2009, made stimulus funds available to fast-track IT to improve the delivery of U.S. healthcare. Incentives were offered to Medicare and Medicaid providers to act promptly in turning healthcare IT into a more longitudinal system before 2015. After the deadline, those not in compliance will face fines and lost funding instead of the receiving the stimulus incentives

Challenges will be continuous as rules, standards, regulations, protocols and controls are being written, implemented, and adopted every day. Adaptation to changes in systems such as client relationship management (CRM) is imperative to a smooth transition. Making the transition to a medical CRM should be one of the first technological advances to consider.

CRM is a method of managing customer or client information using an IT database. Initially used by sales professionals to store contacts, track and make appointments, and produce customer sales life cycle positions, advances in CRM technology have made it possible to design client and profession-specific derivatives and variables within each system to perform a variety of functions. In the case of healthcare, medical CRM systems keep track of patient information from initial referral through appointments, lab work, pharmacy contacts, specialist visits, phone messages and countless other pieces of patient data. Besides storage, CRMs analyze data and produce reports; initiate follow-up appointments through automated emails; send prescriptions to pharmacies without phone call or paper forms; and provide countless additional functions.

Every day, IT produces developments such as physician order entry and demographic monitoring of public health. Technology has devised the capability for CRM to interact with mobile devices and apps. These are not yet certified by the government oversight. Current health care regulations require EHR technology to meet certain qualifications and testing for EHR certification. As innovations continue, however, requirements, standards and testing develop simultaneously in the hopes healthcare information will be a coordinated, fully integrated system by 2015.

Fastest Growing Allied Healthcare Careers

Some of the fastest growing professions in the country are allied healthcare occupations. But what exactly does allied healthcare mean and how is it different from healthcare? Allied health refers to the services outside of the three main healthcare disciplines of medicine, dentistry, and nursing.

Allied healthcare covers a whole gamut of services including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, home health aide workers, dental assistants, medical sonographers, speech pathologists, laboratory technicians, etc.

The list is by no means comprehensive and there are tons of other allied health professions that are growing in demand. However, there are a few that stand out because of their minimal training requirement and immense potential. Some such fast growing allied healthcare careers are:

Medical Transcription: Medical transcriptionists held about 95,100 jobs in the year 2010.* The medical transcription practice involves listening to recordings of doctor dictations and converting them into factually and grammatically correct written reports. Being able to understand medical terminology, typing efficiency and editing skills are the core competencies required for this job. Medical transcriptionists may work at hospitals, offices of physicians, or firms that provide transcription services. Many of them are also self-employed and work from home.

To start a career in medical transcription, it’s important to complete a postsecondary training program in the field. It’s also desirable, though not mandatory to have a Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) or Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) certification awarded by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI).

Pharmacy Technician:Pharmacy technicians are professionals who assist licensed pharmacists in performing a number of clerical, administrative and pharmacy-related tasks. A typical work day for a pharmacy tech includes completing tasks like helping pharmacists in filling prescriptions, responding to patient queries, mixing medications, maintaining patient profiles, managing cash register, packaging and labeling bottles, etc.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected growth in employment of pharmacy techs in the 2010-20 decade is 32 per cent**, much faster than average for all occupations. Formal training requirements are none, but completing a pharmacy tech course and getting certified will definitely provide aspirants to this career a competitive edge in the job market.

Medical Coding and Billing:Medical coding and billing specialists use various classifications systems to assign codes to treatments, diagnoses, tests, and other clinical procedures performed on patients. These coded documents are used for healthcare reimbursement purposes as well as to maintain patient records, medical histories and hospital databases.

According to the Department of Labor data, the annual median pay of medical coding and billing specialists in 2010 was $32,350.Postsecondary medical billing and coding training and professional certification from organizations like the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) are the credentials typically required for gaining entry in to the field.

Medical Assistant: There are fast growing allied healthcare professions, and then there are real fast growing professions. Medical assistance belongs to the second category. According to the Labor Department, the occupation is likely to add 162,900 jobs in the 2010-20 period.

Medical assistants provide a range of administrative and clerical services to physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists and other healthcare practitioners. Depending on the state they are employed in and their training, medical assistants may also perform basic clinical tasks such as taking vitals, recording patient histories, administering drugs and injections, removing sutures and dressings, etc.

But their primary responsibilities are to welcome patients in to a facility, help them fill forms, get them ready for examinations, explaining to them the procedures to be performed, maintain patient records, handling billing related tasks, follow up on insurance claims, manage inventory, etc.

Top Paying Healthcare Jobs

It isn’t without reason that there’s such a hullaballoo over healthcare jobs right now. After all, a healthcare career promises everything that one desires from a profession – job security, challenging work, steady income, potential to grow, and satisfaction.

The flip side is that many healthcare careers, which pay top dollar, require extensive and rigorous training and we are not just talking about med school. A lot of them also involve dealing with extreme situations, especially if they have got to do with direct patient care.

If you don’t have the stomach for direct patient care and extensive schooling is not your cup of tea, but still want to enjoy the perks of having a healthcare job, don’t start to despair just yet. The sector has plenty to offer to people like you!

And to give you an idea, here are some healthcare jobs that don’t have very demanding educational requirements, but offer a decent paycheck at the end of each month.

1. Medical Transcription

Medical transcription, in its traditional form, involves listening to voice recordings of doctors and other healthcare practitioners and keyboarding them on a word processor. However, evolving technologies like the speech recognition software have changed the nature of a medical transcriptionist’s job making it more strategic and less laborious.

Modern day medical transcriptionists review the drafts of reports prepared by the speech recognition software at the backend; check for factual inconsistencies, spelling errors and grammatical mistakes; fix all inaccuracies and make other editorial changes; and finally, format the reports into standardized styles.

It’s important, therefore, to make sure your medical transcription training is updated to cater to the changing demands of the job. Along with an up-to-date medical transcription training program, professional certification may boost your earning potential.

Compensation: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median pay of medical transcriptionists in 2010 was $32,900.*2. Medical Assistant

Medical assistants provide a range of administrative and clerical services to healthcare practitioners like doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists, etc. Depending on their training, employer, and the laws of the state they practice in, medical assistants may also perform certain clinical duties.

Professionals who complete medical administrative assistant training program have the skills to cover tasks like:

· Manning the front desk/reception at a healthcare facility.

· Answering phone calls and scheduling appointments.

· Recording patient history and maintaining files.

· Helping patient fill insurance and other forms.

· Ordering and storing supplies and equipment.

· Handling payments and billing related tasks.

Compensation: The median hourly wages of medical assistants were$13.87 in 2010**, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

3. Medical Billing & Coding

Medical coding and billing is one of the most important allied healthcare functions. When a patient visits a healthcare practitioner, he or she may be asked to undergo several diagnostic tests, referred to other specialists during the course of treatment, advised certain follow-up therapy, etc. All of this information is coded using standard classification system and becomes a part of a patient’s record.

These records are used by doctors to review patient cases and by health insurance carriers to pay the hospitals or private practices for the healthcare services rendered to their clients. These patient records also become important evidence in medical lawsuits.

Post secondary medical billing and coding training is the standard entry-level educational requirement for this job. Getting certified may increase your chances of securing a bigger paycheck.

Medical Transcription – Reasons for Outsourcing

Medical transcription has always played a vital role in the healthcare process by creating records of the patient – healthcare professional encounter, converting the audio files provided by the healthcare professionals into text format. Healthcare professionals depend on information found in these patient records to provide quality healthcare. Medical records also play a vital role in the process leading to reimbursements. In situations where healthcare professionals/ healthcare facilities have faced malpractice litigations medical records have provided evidence regarding the treatment process.

The service of creating patient records through this process can be obtained from various sources. Healthcare facilities could have the in-house staff transcribe these records or have independent contractors provide this service or avail the services of a professional service provider. It has been found that outsourcing medical transcription needs to a professional service provider is the most effective, efficient and economic solution for the medical record documentation needs of healthcare facilities.

What are the reasons for outsourcing medical transcription?

Cut expenses: One of the main and obvious benefits is that of saving on costs. Outsourcing helps the healthcare facilities save as much as 40%-50% on current costs. This is made possible by choosing the right vendor who can pass on the benefits of using the right team, the right process, the right technology and the economies of scale achieved by this by way of lowered costs.

Accelerating reimbursements: Availing services from an outside entity ensures that the transcription takes place on time. As the information from patient medical records is the foundation for starting the receivables cycle, maintaining turnaround time helps speed up the process.

Cut down on payroll costs: As the process of creating patient medical records is a people intensive process requiring a skilled and trained team to maintain the high standards required. Moreover coordinating the entire process requires management, administrative and information technology staff. Outsourcing helps save on the payroll costs of these personnel

Save on infrastructure costs: Having this activity in-house requires infrastructure like space, utilities, furniture and transcription equipment. Availing these services allows for optimum utilization of these resources towards the development of the core business of providing quality healthcare.

Availing the services of specialists: This ensures that the healthcare facilities benefit from the experience and skills of the service provider. This enables them to reap the benefits of quality services at lower rates and the benefits of the technology used by the vendor that provide secure and speedy services with multiple benefits

Improve workflow: As patient medical records are an essential part of the chain leading to quality healthcare and the process of reimbursement availing specialty services ensures that creation of patient records takes place on time without compromising any of the quality parameters. This helps improve the workflow.

Survive and flourish in competitive environment: Decreasing costs, improved cash flow and the added benefits of security & multiple benefits of easy to use technology provided by the outsourced service provider helps healthcare facilities survive and flourish in this competitive environment.

There are numerous advantages of outsourcing medical transcription. However while outsourcing, it is important for healthcare facilities to evaluate the service provider based on parameters like accuracy, turnaround time, cost, security and the technology used to avail maximum benefits.

Our Nation’s Healthcare Costs are Spiraling Out of Control

Almost every day we read in the newspapers how healthcare costs continue to rise at a double digit pace. As employers each year we are chagrined to hear from our health insurance carriers that they’re passing on 12 to 15 to 17 percent increases in health care premiums. We respond by shifting costs over to our employees by increasing the deductibles and co-pays hoping to stem the tide of uncontrollable healthcare costs. Yet, they continue to rise.

We want to do something about this. Clearly one of the things that we can be done is to make sure that in the healthcare system today, the resources are allocated only to those people who deserve and qualify for the treatment that they’re seeking on the basis of medical fact. AHIP commonly estimates that 30% of all healthcare treatments are unnecessary. We believe this to be the case because it mirrors our own statistical denials of healthcare benefits on the cases that we review for major health insurance carriers, Third Party Administrators and other clients.

The point is allocating health care resources an important part of medical cost containment equation and something that we should all be concerned about? Certainly our company is not at the forefront of this. Our role is to simply provide independent medical review services that help payers allocate their resources more effectively. We believe there are many other ways o to solve this problem, and Independent Review Organizations are adding increasing value by helping to contain medical costs.

As a member of the National Association of Independent Review Organizations (NAiro), we’ve banded together to press for changes in legislative and regulatory areas at the state level and to seek to unify the bureaucratic regulations that are tangling up our healthcare system at the state level and leading to increasing costs. We also are pushing for better ways to improve the overall healthcare system by advocating standards for credentialing Independent Review Organizations.

All of the NAiro members are accredited by URAC which has helped us to improve our overall quality and to insure our clients that we meet high standards of performance when it comes to medical review quality, turn around time, objectivity and evidence based decision-making. NAiro is pursuing an aggressive agenda among its members to improve the overall responsiveness of the industry to changing healthcare trends, as it relates to emerging treatments. We’re also working actively as members of the URAC board to push forward an agenda that will make it easier for healthcare organizations to select credentialed organizations as their healthcare vendors.

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Top-Notch Healthcare Available in Costa Rica

For the last several years, Costa Rica has become known as a prime destination in the growing tourism healthcare market. Costa Rica is just a short 2 or 3 hour flight from several U.S. cities, making it an excellent option for North American residents seeking quality affordable healthcare. Two well-known private hospitals in Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose have capitalized on their international status as world-class healthcare centers and now offer several services for their international clientele at a fraction of the cost that one would expect to spend in the United States. Both Hospital Clinica Biblica in downtown San Jose, and Hospital CIMA in the suburb of Escazu, offer wellness and preventive packages as well as cosmetic surgery and all kinds of medical treatments. Both hospitals also offer truly affordable maternity packages as well. It is also worth mentioning that as an added bonus to foreigners, both the Clinica Biblica and CIMA accept a range of foreign insurance plans to meet the needs of their clients.

The quality healthcare available in Costa Rica isn’t just for medical tourists, however; residents are benefiting as well. In order to better serve the residents of Guanacaste, it was recently announced that there are plans to open a new private hospital near the International Airport in Liberia. Full details are yet to be released, but the new hospital will be affiliated with either Hospital Clinica Biblica or Hospital CIMA. Both hospitals have submitted proposals to build a new branch in Liberia, and it is safe to say that whichever hospital is selected to build in Liberia, the healthcare options that the new facility will bring to Guanacaste will be excellent and will benefit both residents and tourists alike.

Another exciting development for the region’s health needs is the recent addition of the San Rafael Arcangel Medical Center in Liberia. The first phase of the Medical Center was inaugurated in September 2006 with professionals in gynecology, pediatrics, general surgery, vascular surgery, urology, geriatrics, psychology and nutrition. The response was incredible and as the center continued to grow, many more professionals from new specialties asked to become part of the Medical Center. San Rafael Arcangel will soon offer medical services 24 hours a day in a wide variety of specialties. The last phase of the Center includes plans for the construction of a Medical-Surgery Tower with a baby delivery wing, a surgery wing, and a modern emergency service facility. The Center seeks to be the first option for medical care in Costa Rica after the private hospitals in San Jose.

Reasonably priced, good medical care is also available throughout Guanacaste’s coastal resort towns. Services such as Emergencias 2000, located in Huacas and Tamarindo-Villarreal and Coastal Emergency Medical Services, also in Huacas and Tamarindo-Villarreal offer 24-hour emergency medical services and consultations. Both clinics also have laboratories and their own ambulances. In addition, there are numerous other small medical clinics and dental clinics in the area that offer excellent care and there are several acupuncturists and massage therapists who practice in the area as well. With all of these services available nearby, residents and tourists can feel at ease knowing they will be taken care of should they become ill or experience an emergency situation here on the Gold Coast.

My family has used the services at Hospital Clinica Biblica in San Jose and we’ve also used the services of a couple of private clinics close to our home near Tamarindo. We have nothing but positive things to say about the care we’ve received in Costa Rica thus far. Our daughter was born at the Clinica Biblica in February 2008 and my husband and I both felt absolutely comfortable there and felt my daughter and I received top-notch care. In addition, several of the doctors we had contact with spoke English, which was an added comfort for me. To avoid having to travel all the way into San Jose, we now plan to take our daughter to a pediatrician at the San Rafael Arcangel clinic in Liberia for her check-ups. We are thrilled to know that we are saving money on our family’s medical bills without compromising the quality of care we receive.

The Gold Coast is experiencing an influx of foreign residents and healthcare options in the area are quickly expanding to meet the needs of all of Guanacaste’s residents. With an excellent private hospital coming to Liberia as well as more and more small private clinics available in the area, soon Gold Coast residents won’t even have to leave Guanacaste to receive the quality healthcare they need.

Medical Billing Specialists – Expected Salary and Job Description

When it comes to choosing a career, perhaps the two most critical factors that help you decide in favor or against it are the nature of work and compensation.

It’s important that you find the work interesting and challenging enough to sustain over a long period of time. Equally important is to know what to expect in terms of salary, so you are neither short-changed nor make unreasonable demands of potential employers.

In this article, we provide detailed description and salary range of one of the most promising allied healthcare jobs – medical billing.

Medical Billing Job Description

Medical billing is often performed in conjunction with medical coding. In fact, one function flows into another. That’s why many medical billers are trained in and often perform medical coding tasks as well.

Depending on your training, you can either perform both these functions or specialize in one.

But to understand its functionality, it’s important to know what medical coders do. Every day, tons of clinical procedures are performed at hospitals, offices of physicians, outpatient care centers, home health agencies, and other types of healthcare facilities.

Medical coders use universal classification system to assign codes to these procedures, so they can be interpreted correctly by doctors, health insurance carriers and other stakeholders.

A medical biller’s role kicks in once these documents, prepared by medical coders, reach their hands. Based on the information in these documents, they prepare and submit claims to health insurance companies of patients.

Insurance companies release payments on receiving these claims from the medical billing department of a healthcare facility. But like the proverbial slip between the cup and the lip, there are many hindrances before claims are settled.

So, a medical biller’s job does not end with sending claims to the insurance carriers, but actually includes following up with them; reviewing unpaid and denied claims; and making sure they are processed and settled by the insurance companies.

Providing customer service to patients, answering their billing related queries, and verifying their insurance coverage is also part of a medical billing specialist’s core responsibilities.

Medical Billing Training

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the standard academic requirement for this profession is a postsecondary non-degree award.

This means that vocational medical billing training programs or certificates usually suffice to enter the occupation, although two-year Associate degrees can also be pursued.

So far as vocational training is concerned, there are two options – a program that covers coursework in both medical billing and coding or one that is billing specific.

The curriculum may be slightly different for the two types of programs in that medical billing training will primarily focus on topics that are relevant for this function such as healthcare reimbursement methodologies, billing software, etc., but may also include a course or two in basic coding.

The curriculum of a medical coding and billing training program, on the other hand, will be equally distributed between courses in both these functions.

Expected Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the median annual wages of medical records and health information technicians, of which medical billing is a part, was $32,350 in May 2010.* The top 10 percent earned more than$53,430 per year ** and that’s exactly where you should aspire to be if you have to join this profession because nothing less than the absolute best will do for you!

Benefits of Leasing Medical Equipments

In the competitive world of healthcare, medical care providers need to be equipped and updated in terms of technology, equipments and services offered to patients. The task is however a costlier affair and often upgrading to the most modern medical equipments is not quite affordable for small and medium healthcare providers. An ideal alternative to this problem is to lease the required medical equipments from a reliable equipment leasing company.

The lessee enjoys reaps huge benefits when leasing medical equipments. It can provide critical upgrades to existing outdated medical equipments and can increase the confidence of your patients with treatment using modern equipments. Healthcare firms can save the initial cost of buying costly equipments and the same amount can be used for productive purposes. The main benefit is that your firm is prevented from getting into huge debts due to large equipment acquisitions, and you get to conserve your working capital as well as current lines of credit. Leasing medical equipment offers relief for those who are worried of their purchased equipment being outdated in the near future. Further benefits include tax savings, which are higher if the equipment is being leased in the United States.

A variety of medical equipments are available for lease, some of which includes medical furniture, MRI scanners, ultrasound equipments, operation theater equipments, sterilizers, anesthesia machines, patient monitoring equipments, respiratory ventilators, x-ray equipments, portable medical equipments, CT scanners, etc. Most vendors lease these equipments for use in private and public hospitals, clinics, acute care centers, research labs, etc.

Lease companies also give you the option to buy the equipment at its current market value at the end of the lease period, if you find the equipment a valuable asset. Further, they can arrange easier and flexible payment methods which can depend either on the use or from revenues generated with the equipment.

To conclude, leasing is the best option for healthcare firms to remain competitive without having to part with their working capital for obtaining costly equipments.